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SPECIAL PROGRAM PUTS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO WORK ON THE METRO

   SPECIAL PROGRAM PUTS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO WORK ON THE METRO
    LOS ANGELES, July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The beginning of a future work force to help build Los Angeles County's Metro System is being trained now through a specialized program that is putting high school students to work on the Metro Red Line and other transportation projects this summer.
    The summer jobs are part of the Transportation Occupations Program (TOP) of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC)/Rail Construction Corp. (RCC).
    Nichele Weatherford, a graduating senior from Compton High School, is one of the few women working in the underground Union Station.  She is in training to be an electrical field engineering assistant of the Metro Red Line Segment One.  "Being in TOP has shown what it's like to be in the work force and what to expect from college courses," said Weatherford, who plans to attend Long Beach City College and eventually major in electrical engineering.
   "TOP brings together school districts, industry and construction to provide a better life for many inner-city students," said Jacki Bacharach, LACTC commissioner.  "In our planning and construction of billions of dollars of transit work, is our children.  We're creating a strong bond -- a sense of ownership between young people and the Metro transportation system.  Students in this program can help make positive contributions to their community improvements," she said.
    During junior and senior years, students work hard in TOP after- school courses and on Saturdays studying specialized courses and joining in field trips that prepare them for college majors or entry- level positions in architecture, urban planning, engineering and other transportation-related fields.
    LACTC funds the program by providing wages and class materials. Construction contractors and city engineering departments provide the jobs.  Classroom curriculum is jointly development by school district teachers and guest lecturers from the transportation industry.
    Jimmy Hernandez, who is entering his senior year at Dominguez High School in Compton, is working as an assistant to an engineering geologist.  "It's real exciting to be a part of L.A.'s history in building the Metro Red Line," said Hernandez, 18.
    TOP originated in 1986 during construction of the Metro Blue Line.  The Long Beach, Compton and Los Angeles Unified school districts participate in the program.
    About 140 students are assigned to jobs around the city doing a variety of work, including surveying, computer drafting, graphics, document control, computer-assisted design, making blue prints and computer data entry.
    -0-               7/16/92
    /CONTACT:  Roberta Tinajero or Stephanie Brady of LACTC, 213-244-6565 or 213-244-6792/ CO:  Los Angeles County Transportation Commission ST:  California IN: SU: CH-KJ -- LA021 -- 9846 07/16/92 14:26 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 16, 1992
Words:438
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